HC Deb 02 August 1888 vol 329 cc1216-7
MR. WOODALL (Hanley)

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether, since the reply given by him last Session, further surveys of the Raian Basin have been made by the Egyptian Government; whether those surveys have conclusively demonstrated the feasibility of the project of Mr. Cope Whitehouse to utilize the basin as a storage reservoir for the Nile flood; if it is true that Nubar Pasha has stated that an expenditure of £2,000,000 upon such a scheme would be recoverable in the value of lands reclaimed; whether he is aware that responsible contractors have offered to cut the canal and construct the essential works for £250,000; and, whether Her Majesty's Government are disposed to give any encouragement to the Egyptian Government in furthering the accomplishment of so important an undertaking?


The question of the feasibility and the expense of Mr. Cope Whitehouse's project are matters upon which the Egyptian Government must necessarily be guided by the opinion of its technical advisers. We have not received a copy of Nubar Pasha's observations on the scheme; but Sir Evelyn Baring has sent home a copy of a Memorandum by Sir C. Moncrieff in reply to those observations. Sir C. Moncrief estimates the cost of the undertaking at £1,800,000, and deprecates its being proceeded with for some years to come. Her Majesty's Government do not feel justified in interfering with the discretion of the Egyptian Government in the matter, or in encouraging them to undertake so large and uncertain an expenditure in the present state of their finances without the most careful consideration.